The thing about Guacamole is there a lot of ways to screw it up. On its surface, classic guacamole couldn’t be more simple, avocado mashed up with some lime, garlic and salt. And honestly, under its surface it should be simple too. That’s why I am not sure why it seems so easily screwed up. Warning, I have a strong opinion about guacamole. Even though I have very little apparent justification for being that way. I mean seriously, who am I to think that I know anything about Guacamole. I’m more Welsh than Mexican.
I do sort of have a reason to have some strong feelings about what is right and what is oh so wrong about good guac. My mom is from Texas after all. And I was weaned on Tex Mex food (and cheese-steaks, but that is another story.) And I have been making guacamole since I could reach the kitchen counter. And that I grew up knowing that the “g” sound in guac is more of a “hw” sound. Now do you hear that thudding sound? That’s the sound of me getting up on my Guacamole Soap Box. Get ready. I may swear a bit here!
Without naming names or pointing fingers here are
the six ways people screw up guacamole
- Too much garlic: The first way it can be screwed up is too much raw garlic. Listen up people, when garlic is raw, use a light hand. You can always add more in, but you can’t take it away. And the thing about garlic in guac is that it isn’t the star of the show. So you just want it to play nice with the other flavors. Enhance them a bit. I like to make sure to really mince it as fine as I possibly can. Sometimes, if I am getting fancy, I will mince the garlic and then mash it into a paste with the salt before adding it into the mix.
- Not enough lime: The second way guac can go to the dark side is when people are afraid of lime. This IS the star of the show. Well of course except for the creaminess of the avocado. I am going to tell you a secret. Adding lime (or acid of any sort) to pretty much any food will brighten up the flavors and cancel out bitterness. Just be sure to balance the sour with salt. Lime is the way to go in Guac. Not lemon, not vinegar. This is Mexican food people. Lime. Trust me.
- Not enough salt: Which brings me to way number three that guac can really go wrong. You must. I repeat must add a shit-ton of salt. You will thank me. Because here’s the deal. This is a dip, so you want it to be intensely flavored. You just put a little on your chip and it should make a big huge impact in your mouth. Salt will make all the other flavors pop. Always. Period. Don’t argue. And you’ll need way more than you think because the fat in the avocado really sucks up the other flavors, so you’ll need more salt (and lime) than you think would be right. That is all.
- Adding weird stuff: Don’t be a dumbass and add a bunch of weird shit. Green bell pepper doesn’t belong in guac. I would argue that neither does cumin. Or really, any dried spices including pepper for that matter. Neither does mayonnaise. WTF, Worcestershire? Are you insane??? I am okay with getting cheeky and adding in bacon or chipotle or something like that, but in that case you’re obviously not trying to be authentic. So you get a hall pass.
- Adding too much salsa or cilantro: Enhance judiciously. I really love a little bit of cilantro in my guac. I grew up with the no cilantro variety, and I appreciate that too. Another logical enhancement is salsa. If I worked in a Cantina and always had a supply of finely chopped Pico de Gallo on hand, I would stir a scoop of that in. My west Texan family uses a bit of Salsa Herdez in theirs. I like a bit of Pace Picante Medium in mine. Just a little. It shouldn’t darken the color of the overall greenness. So if you do add salsa, I’d say, choose a thin one, not chunky. If you want chunks in your guacamole, I say, opt for leaving chunks of avocado.
- Garnishing with the pit: And the last thing I am going to say is this: A big brown pit does not look yummy in guacamole. Why is that there? The reason the guac turns brown is the air. The acid in the lime will help the avocados from turning brown, but really if you want to make this in advance, press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the guac so that no air can touch it. Leaving the pit in is a myth. If the surface of your guacamole does turn brown, just scrape it off. Sheesh!
Okay, stepping down of my soap box now. Sigh. I feel better now.
Classic guacamole recipe made with avocado, lime and salt with a bit of salsa, cilantro and garlic. Healthy, naturally gluten free and only 86 calories per 1/4 cup serving.
- 3 ripe Hass avocados
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons medium Pace Picante Sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 small clove garlic, minced like crazy
- Mash avocado, lime, Pace, cilantro salt and garlic in a large bowl until desired smoothness.